KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 6: Fall 2016
Haibun: 171 words
Editors’ Commentary: 91 words

At the Helm

by Ryan Jessup

after midnight watching the last wintry scene of the movie Affliction where the eldest son finally kills his father in the woodshed for having been a hateful and abusive drunk all his life I suddenly hear the quick footsteps of my young son coming down the stairs like some little lost and curious ghost and I go to meet him as if for the first time to offer my love to him and this time I do not get upset because he is up once more at such a late hour but just kneel down and hug him and pick him up and carry him back up the stairs to his room where I lay him in his bed and cover him and rub his back as I sing to him in the white-noise dark and then I kiss him on the cheek as he falls back into a peaceful sleep safe and warm from the cold winter night

silent house
resting on the floor
pieces of moonlight

—Third Publisher’s Choice Award, KYSO Flash HTP Writing Challenge

Commentary by KF Editors:

This piece taps into a common desire to kiss and hold a loved one following any kind of scary or troubling experience, whether that be an earthquake, a brush with violence, or a horror flick. The movie described here compels the narrator to kiss and hold his little boy in the cold winter night to keep him safe, and at the same time, perhaps, to prove to himself that he’s a good father and all is well.

Ryan Jessup
Issue 6, Fall 2016

is a Christian, a husband, a father, a poet, and a downhill skateboarder. His work has appeared in KYSO Flash, Contemporary Haibun Online, Haibun Today, Lynx, Notes from the Gean, Relief Journal, and others. His haibun have twice been included in the annual print anthology of Contemporary Haibun Online, most recently in KYSO Flash Anthology of Haibun and Tanka Forms 2015, and is forthcoming in the Snapshot Press eChapbook Awards print anthology of the best haibun from the first four years of the awards. He lives with his wife and kids in the foothills of North Carolina.

Please visit Ryan Jessup’s listing at Poets & Writers for more information.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

A Light in Contemporary Haibun Online (Volume 8, No. 3, October 2013)

On Peter Butler’s A Piece of Shrapnel, a review in Haibun Today (Volume 7, Volume 1, March 2013)

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